Rheinmetall Defence and Lockheed Martin have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on tailored solutions that will provide Germany with a unique rocket artillery system that maximises existing and combat proven components, produced in Germany. Under this collaboration, the companies will explore potential joint opportunities in areas such as research and development, production and other activities. The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (M270 MLRS) is an American-developed armored, self-propelled, multiple rocket launcher manufactured by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. The M270 MLRS has been in use in Germany since 1990 under the designation MARS – Medium Artillery Rocket System. MARS can fire different types of ammunition at individual targets over distances of 10 to 40 km.
“For us, the letter of intent signed today is an agreement of strategic significance. The combination of Lockheed Martin’s proven capabilities and extensive know-how with Rheinmetall’s experience in fabrication and production opens unique opportunities for both sides. For Germany and Rheinmetall, the agreement offers the chance to secure key technologies and a significant share in the value added chain for Germany,” said Armin Papperger, chief executive of Rheinmetall AG.
“Lockheed Martin looks forward to collaborating and optimising our combined resources to meet an immediate need for deterrence. This is another step in our partnership with Rheinmetall bringing 21st Century Security solutions to Germany,” said Lockheed Martin Vice President of Tactical Missiles, Paula Hartley.
MARS II/MLRS-E (Mittleres Artillerieraketensystem, Medium Artillery Rocket System) is a European upgrade of M270 involving Germany, Italy and France. In cooperation with various European partners, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) upgraded and modernised the MLRS for several nations: Germany (from MARS to MARS II/MLRS-E), Italy (from MLRS to MLRS Improved) and France (from MLRS to Lance Roquette Unitaire (LRU)). MARS II/MLRS-E is equipped with a new fire control system (EFCS – European Fire Control System) designed par Airbus Defense and Space. EFCS enables firing of M31, M31A1, M32, AT2 and 110 mm rockets, but not of M26, M26A1, and M30, so as to ensure full compliance with the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Integration in the European Fire Control System (EFCS) with the additional function of firing guided GMLRS rockets.
Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets have an extended range and add GPS-aided guidance to their inertial navigation system manufactured by Lockheed Martin. GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The GMLRS AW was the first munition developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance. GMLRS unitary rockets exceed the required combat reliability rate and are cost-effective. Each GMLRS rocket is packaged in an MLRS launch pod and is fired from the Lockheed Martin-produced HIMARS or M270 family of launchers. Currently, both GMLRS variants “Unitary and SMArt” are supported by the MARS II Fire Control System. To increase its terminal efficiency, the MARS2 offers a high accuracy to limit the number of rockets needed to treat a target but also a graduation effects by several modes of triggering its military load.